Customs and Traditions

Ceremonies

 Shoshone Indians engaged in a variety of dances and ceremonies. Major dances with religious themes included the Round Dance, the Father Dance, and the Sun Dance. The Round Dance was performed when food was plentiful or as part of an annual mourning ceremony. The Father Dance paid tribute to the creator and asked him to keep the people healthy. The sun dance was performed after a buffalo hunt and was a focal point for all Shoshone people as it expressed tribal Unity and spirituality.

Marriage Customs

Marriage was an important part of Shoshone culture. Shoshone men were generally hunters while women gathered making marriage essential to form a viable economic unit. Shoshone couples often looked forward to socializing at Round Dances. Some Shoshone men kidnapped their brides from neighboring tribes and many times these women were already married. Newly wed Shoshone couples often lived with their families and the choice of living with either the bride’s or the groom’s family, varied upon band.

War Rituals

 Some Shoshone warriors took the scalps of their enemies as a symbol of victory. Military societies called the Yellow Brows and the Logs existed among the Easter Shoshone bands. Yellow Brows were young men who underwent an initiation ritual. They painted their hair yellow and took a vow to always remain fearless in battle. In war Yellow Brows were the first to attack followed by the older soldiers called Logs who painted their faces black.

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